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halophyte (hălˈəfĪtˌ) [key], any plant, especially a seed plant, that is able to grow in habitats excessively rich in salts, such as salt marshes, sea coasts, and saline or alkaline semideserts and steppes. These plants have special physiological adaptations that enable them to absorb water from soils and from seawater, which have solute concentrations that nonhalophytes could not tolerate. Some halophytes are actually succulent, with a high water-storage capacity.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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